According to Nicola Benedetti, Your Children Need Classical Music
Children are not getting any exposure to classical music and they should have the same introduction to music’s classics as they do to literature from their mandatory literature reading lists at school.
Nicola Benedict, the award-winning violinist, recommends that all young children need to experience listening to classical music whether they want to or not. In her humble opinion, they should not have a choice in the matter.
Nicola has a good point. In other areas of schooling, children do not get a say in what they learn in grades K-12. There is a curriculum that is set by the State Education Board and all the school districts must follow the protocol. When it comes to classical music, there is no such set requisite in place. Her argument flips this notion on its head when it comes to teaching art and culture.
Nicola often hears folks say, “Kids hate listening to the symphony, why would we that to them?” Her response is undeniably logical. She thinks if you give children the option of playing a video game instead of doing their math homework which one do you think they would prefer? Of course, it would never be math. Video games would win every time. But that doesn’t mean you let them pass on subjects that are beneficial to their development and education like math and science. Classical music, according to Nicola, should be considered just as important.
There is no dramatic evidence to suggest that listening to a program like Baby Beethoven or Baby Mozart, which became very popular in the 1990’s, will increase your child’s IQ. Glenn Schellenberg, a Professor of Psychology at University of Toronto, took a random sample of 144 children and placed them in sectioned groups for keyboard, voice lessons, drama lessons, or no lessons. The children in the musical groups did have higher IQs, but not dramatically so, which still makes the effect of classical music on intelligence debatable.
That being said, according to recurrent research in child development, listening to classical music by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and so many others improves children’s listening abilities, increases their focus and concentration, and imparts self-discipline.
These are the elements that Benedetti is focused on imparting to young children through her work at a non-profit charity called Sistema Scotland. She works with young children, making sure that various kinds of classical musical are part of their educational experience.
Benedetti says, “You’re not just developing concentration and focus in order to try to understand the music. You are also getting something that has life lessons, has beauty, has uplift and joy and sorrow and tragedy – all the things that you will have to deal with in your life at some point.”